On par with the bottom-line profits generated by a business, customer experience is one of the top goals of any organization. In fact, a great customer experience is what enables better and more sustainable revenue growth.
While business leaders and CXOs are keenly aware of its importance, Ops teams can lose sight of the importance of customer experience. With day-to-day operations that look to keep server instances highly available, network requests executing faster, and a host of other complex tasks, Ops teams can become disconnected from the end goal of delivering a great customer experience.
The way to tie together customer experience and operational goals is using the right monitoring strategy. Not just any kind of monitoring though, this calls for a modern AIOps approach to monitoring that takes into account business KPIs.
Customer Experience Matters
Today’s end users have high expectations from the apps they use. This is driven by the high quality of consumer apps available today. Consider for a moment how long it takes to hail a cab via Uber versus finding an answer to why latency in a particular application increased by 10% last week. The cab would likely reach you faster. This is the difference between customer experience in the consumer world versus in the enterprise.
The front-end user experience matters for any application today. In a mobile-first world, mobile is critical to any app’s user experience. Delivering a seamless experience across desktop and mobile is a challenge with complex enterprise applications.
It’s not just about building a responsive, mobile-friendly frontend interface; but about powering the frontend with data from a complex backend data store. It’s easy to quickly deliver a simple and modern frontend. The bigger challenge is to modernize and re-architect a legacy backend and modernize it.
Latency is greatly determined by the time it takes for data to be transported from the backend to the frontend. With distributed backend systems, networking needs to be equally distributed to enable complex request routing and efficient data transfer.
To borrow from the poet, John Donne, no app “is an island, entire of itself.” Not just internally, but externally, applications need to integrate with other third-part applications via APIs. Considering the Uber app again: It needs to interface with a third-party mapping service, a communication service for texts and calls, and a payment gateway, to name just a few third-party integrations. When these integrations work together seamlessly it results in an outstanding customer experience.
In light of the sudden shift to remote work in 2020, organizations are now forced to modernize their digital experiences and prioritize customer experience. Ops teams need to be even more aware of the changing business KPIs related to customer experience.
Tying Operational Metrics to Business KPIs
There are many KPIs that can help gauge customer experience. I’ve divided them into product, marketing, sales, and support KPIs.
These KPIs are usually owned by the product manager. Product managers own the entire lifecycle of product development, including which features are developed and shipped and in what order.
To be sure, features and capabilities play a key role in enabling better customer experiences. All things being equal, customers will move towards the product with better and more features.
While product owners decide feature delivery cycles, it’s Ops teams that enable development and deployment of these features. Release frequency is the most important indicator of how well an organization is doing in this regard. For frequent releases, developer productivity needs to keep improving. Monitoring the number of commits, builds, automated tests, and automated releases is the starting point to meeting these KPIs.
For consumer apps, usage metrics such as monthly active users and daily active users (MAUs & DAUs) are vital to gauge the success of an app. Going a level deeper, the number of sessions per user, and number of features used per user, are good indicators of how sticky an app’s user experience is.
Finally, net promoter score (NPS) is a metric that tracks how frequently users promote an app to others. This is another great indicator of how delighted customers are with the app. These KPIs require close monitoring of Ops metrics such as page load times, and unresolved issues.
Marketing teams are responsible for promoting an application and getting the word out. They often run promotional campaigns, launch campaigns, and channel-specific campaigns like email marketing, sponsored ads and more.
Ops is a key enabler of these campaigns. A marketing campaign that generates millions of pageviews only to make the website crash is a wasted effort. This is often seen on certain days like Black Friday. Ops teams need to test the infrastructure’s ability to scale and meet requirements for promotions. They need appropriate alerts to know when traffic spikes, and even tactics for autoscaling to meet the need. Further, Ops teams need to be able to spot and isolate malicious activity that may cause requests to spike unnaturally.
Mobile app stores now have ratings and reviews for all apps on their platform. Customers rely on these reviews before deciding to download the app. It’s easy to spot an app with bad customer experience by just reading the top reviews that call out its lack of security features, or buggy interface. While marketing takes responsibility and responds to these reviews, Ops teams hold the key to fixing the issues that result in better reviews and ratings.
By paying attention to these aspects, Ops can be a key player in meeting the larger marketing KPIs of growth in market share, customer acquisition, and customer retention.
Sales KPIs enable sales teams to sell better. These include KPIs like conversion rate, average order value (AOV), time to conversion, and order fulfillment time.
To even accurately track these KPIs it takes integrating multiple tools like Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Workday. These integrations fall in the domain of Ops teams who need to integrate these applications the right way, and monitor how efficiently they enable sales processes. Further, Ops teams hold the key to automating sales systems. Automation enables sales teams to create quotes faster, to access vital information related to an account before a meeting, and to collaborate better internally to enable a deal to come through successfully. Ops teams need to look for ways to calculate how much time is saved at each step of the sales cycle, and attribute it to their effort.
Support is a key factor for a great customer experience. Support teams field all incoming queries using ticket management tools like Zendesk. They also own and manage resources like documentation and user forums. Support works closely with technology teams like developers and Ops teams to find solutions to user issues. They are often the first to find out about a bug affecting users.
Ops teams can easily gauge the pulse of the customer experience by monitoring support tickets, bugs, and customer satisfaction survey results. These data add a qualitative aspect to otherwise numeric Ops monitoring data. Ops has a key role to play in reducing mean time to resolution/recovery (MTTR), which support teams measure in the form of turnaround time (TAT). By helping better structure documentation and self-help initiatives, Ops can greatly reduce the number of incoming support tickets. All this combines to make for an outstanding customer experience.
With such a wide range of KPIs and metrics to monitor, Ops teams can’t rely on outdated monitoring tools and strategies. They need to leverage AIOps to automate monitoring. This way, Ops teams can gain end-to-end visibility into the performance of the business. AIOps leverages machine learning to assess situations, identify threats, correlate diverse data points, and even implement automated remediation to the most common problems. AIOps enables better monitoring for Ops teams. In doing so, AIOps becomes a driver of business KPIs across the organization – whether in product, marketing, sales, or support.
Learn how Broadcom’s AIOps solution can help you better align monitoring to business KPIs visit www.broadcom.com/aiops.